A Film and TV Review by Tim Riley


BAD BOYS FOR LIFE” (Rated R) As much fun as it is to watch Will Smith and Martin Lawrence teamed up again in “Bad Boys for Life,” the repetitive chorus from the hit song “Bad Boys” by the Jamaican reggae band Inner Circle may well reverberate for days inside your head.Right from the start, the action kicks in with Smith’s Mike Lowery and Lawrence’s Marcus Burnett, detectives on the Miami police force, in hot pursuit in Mike’s high-performance Porsche, screeching dangerously along city streets.

The hair-raising speed race is actually to the hospital where Marcus’ daughter is giving birth to his first grandchild, an event propelling him into retirement to spend time with his family.Marcus has grown timid and weary of the aggressive crime fighting that his partner Mike relishes not just for taking down bad guys, but because he’s a reckless thrill-seeker who has never matured into his middle age.When Marcus hangs up the shield, Mike has no desire to change his ways. Lest the Bad Boys finally break up, Marcus gets pulled back into action when Mike survives a hit from an assassin dispatched by a Mexican cartel.


As it happens, Mike is targeted for vengeance by Isabel (Kate del Castillo), widow of a Mexican cartel drug lord, who has managed a violent escape from prison. The Miami detective was responsible for her incarceration as well as the fate of her late husband.More troubling is that Mike had a history with Isabel, a practitioner of the dark arts, and she sends her son Armando (Jacob Scipio) north of the border to kill everyone involved with the conviction of her husband, including the judge and prosecutor in his trial.

But the top priority on Isabel’s hit list is Mike Lowery, and Armando is instructed to kill the detective last so that he will have to suffer witnessing the loss of his friends and colleagues.Captain Howard (Joe Pantoliano) is still nervous about the renegade style of his two detectives, but this time around Mike and Marcus find themselves tethered to a tech-savvy elite team called AMMO, which is led by Rita (Paola Nunez).

Working with the AMMO team is complicated not just because of the old school versus high-tech police work dynamic, but due to the fact that Rita is Mike’s former flame.The good news is that nothing holds back Mike and Marcus from being involved in frenzied chases involving motorcycles, cars and even helicopters, and the two detectives end up in Mexico in an ultimately brutal showdown.

During this slow time of year for movies, “Bad Boys for Life” is a nice shot of adrenaline for the action genre, and it’s great having Will Smith and Martin Lawrence reunited.


What’s old is new again, at least for the Paramount Network’s homage to the Seventies with its new series “68 Whiskey” that follows a band of Army medics stationed in Afghanistan.As a show that blends intense drama with irreverent humor, “68 Whiskey” recalls memories of “M*A*S*H,” a TV show about flippant medical staff in a Korean War Army mobile hospital that debuted on CBS in 1972.During the winter TV press tour, show creator Roberto Benabib let it be known that he “came of age” with Vietnam-era movies, citing “MASH” and “Catch-22,” which were incidentally set in the Korean War and World II, respectively.

Benabib expressed admiration for the “absurdist humor vein” running through these war movies, noting that he aspired for “68 Whiskey” to achieve the same “mixture of dark comedy and drama” that “seamlessly just coexisted with each other.”Keeping up with the proliferation of cable channels marketing original programming is not easy to follow. Relatively new on the scene, Spectrum Originals has revived “Mad About You” with Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt.


Rolling out in February is “Manhunt: Deadly Games,” a series of ten one-hour episodes about the amazing story of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games bombing that led the FBI to target a wrongly accused innocent man. This story recently came prominently into play with Clint Eastwood’s “Richard Jewell,” the eponymous movie of the security guard whose discovery of the bomb made him an instant hero before the FBI decided to finger him as the number one suspect.

Spectrum’s “Manhunt: Deadly Games” dives deeper into the story of Richard Jewell as he tried to clear his name, hopefully pointing out how he was maligned by the press and the authorities, before moving on to the conclusion that Eric Rudolph was the one to bring to justice. Interestingly, during the press tour, Katherine Pope, head of Spectrum Originals, expressed her belief the message of the series is that “People mess up. Organizations make the wrong call,” insinuating that mistakes and failings get acknowledged.If Richard Jewell were alive, he may well take exception to that assumption. While then-Attorney General Janet Reno apologized for a leak to the media, it is believed the actual FBI agents on the case stayed mum.

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